Caleb Zachary | Amsterdam, The Netherlands | Post 5

Caleb Zachary | Amsterdam, The Netherlands | Post 5

In the Netherlands, December 5th is a much more important date than the 25th. That’s because the 5th is Sinterklaasdag (Sinterklaas Day), which is more widely celebrated here than Christmas. According to lore, Sinterklaas is a royal-looking elderly fellow with a huge white beard, dressed in red and white. He carries a large staff and rides around on horseback, always leaving Spain and arriving in the Netherlands in early November. The traditional story is he freed a Moroccan slave named…

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Caleb Zachary | Amsterdam, The Netherlands | Post 4

Caleb Zachary | Amsterdam, The Netherlands | Post 4

“It’s almost over!” calls out one of my classmates when we’re greeted by a posted reminder of an election viewing event on the IES abroad bulletin board. I said the same thing to a British friend of my roommate when she asked if I was stressed about the coming election. And to the Dutch R.A. in my building the day before. And my Dutch sociology professor earlier this week. The phrase seems to rest on the tip of the tongue,…

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Caleb Zachary | Amsterdam, The Netherlands | Post 3

Caleb Zachary | Amsterdam, The Netherlands | Post 3

Well, I’ve just finished my first batch of midterms here at UvA. After summer it’s always hard to get back into an academic mindset, and though it’s been almost two months now, I feel as if I’ve only just gotten back to it. I’ve been noticing that when I’m not surrounded by the trappings of college all the time, it’s a lot easier to forget about how important my schoolwork should be. When the library isn’t a four-and-a-half minute, sweat-panted…

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Caleb Zachary | Amsterdam, The Netherlands | Post 2

Caleb Zachary | Amsterdam, The Netherlands | Post 2

If you were to ask a Dutch person what the most traditionally Dutch dish is, they’ll most likely say stamppot, a farmers’ meal consisting of potatoes and kale or cabbage cooked into a mash, with sliced kielbasa mixed in. The most Dutch you could get is if you used Onux brand sausage, hailed as the most popular throughout the Netherlands (imagine Kraft for meats). However, unless you’re out looking for traditionally Dutch cooking, you won’t encounter stamppot. What you will…

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Caleb Zachary | Amsterdam, The Netherlands | Post 1

Caleb Zachary | Amsterdam, The Netherlands | Post 1

My first impression of the Dutch was much as I had been told it would be—most are friendly, outgoing and English-speaking. During the last two orientation weeks at the University of Amsterdam (UvA) I bought a bike, practiced the guttural G sound that comes up so often in Dutch and otherwise tried to assimilate. And yet, the Dutch have an innate ability to spot a foreigner no matter the situation. One of my academic advisors here speculated that perhaps she…

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